Being in long distance relationship is special, challenging, beautiful, and really, really hard. If you’re lucky enough to love someone on the other side of the city, state, country, or globe—don’t see this as a burden. It takes a special kind of person to believe in an LDR and to stay committed. Although it might feel like you’re facing an uphill battle sometimes, don’t give up.
The best things in life are worth fighting (and staying) for.
Here’s how to survive when distance gets rough:
1. Understand that true communication is everything.
When you first jump into a long distance relationship, it might seem easy. The calls are effortless, the smiles are never-ending, the joy to really hear from that person is alive and well. Flash forward a couple of weeks, months, and it starts to get harder. You start to get bittersweet feelings in your heart when you think about calling him or her. As much as you want to share your every moment, you also wish that person could be there.
But if you really love this person and want the relationship to survive, you have to be committed to communication.
You have to be willing to set aside time, even when the schedule is frustrating. You have to be willing to open up, even when that person can’t see you face-to-face. When you’re frustrated, you have to be able to bring these emotions to the surface, rather than holding them in. It’s scary to be vulnerable, but it’s one of the best things you can do (for yourself and for one another). So don’t be afraid.
2. Use social media (but don’t be ruled by it).
Social media is great. You can connect, be consistent, and share all the little pieces of your day. But don’t be so obsessed with social media that you forget to have genuine connection. Don’t focus so much on glorifying your relationship to the public that you don’t actually put in the work in real life.
You won’t be able to see that person when you want, which is why social media is so great. But don’t let it become a substitute for what’s real.
Sometimes what your person needs, most of all, is for you to listen. You can’t be there, you can’t wipe tears or lend shoulders—but you can listen. And sometimes that’s enough.
4. Be commmitted.
This is a no-brainer, but beyond staying loyal to your partner, be committed to growth. Be committed to answering his or her Skype calls (even if the timezones present a challenge). And be committed to loving, even when you can’t have the physical, in-person aspects. Use this time apart to connect in different and even deeper ways. This will only strengthen when you’re back together again.
5. Remember that it’s not wrong to focus on yourself.
One of the things no one really talks about with a long distance relationship is how it can truly grow you as a person. Of course, it’s a bummer to be far from the one you love, but use this time to invest in yourself. Pursue career options, side hustles, or passions that you wouldn’t necessarily have time to if you lived or spent time with your S.O. Invest in platonic and familial relationships. Take yourself on dates. Time apart and time alone are invaluable. Don’t let this time be overshadowed by missing someone.
6. Stive to be flexible and forgiving.
People get busy. Even though you set a 7PM call, your partner might have to reschedule due to a work outing. You can’t hold change or circumstances over one another’s heads. Be reasonable, be flexible, be honest about your feelings, and of course, be forgiving. But don’t be stupid, either. If you suspect something is going on, don’t be afraid to get frank with your partner and ask for the truth. Trust is at the core of your relationship, but also be mindful of your gut feelings, too.
When you’re in a long distance relationship, you have to be truly invested and willing to make time. If you feel that your partner isn’t, then that may, unfortunately, be a warning sign of something not going right. BUT don’t stress over every little thing. Just because your S.O. has a last-minute happy hour with coworkers doesn’t mean he or she isn’t still in love with you.
7. Strive to be honest.
One lie, even an itty-bitty lie about something that doesn’t feel like a big deal can really change everything. Try to be truthful so that you leave no room for fear, shadiness, or insecurity in your relationship.
8. Focus on, and cultivate positive friendships outside of your relationship.
There are some friends you can spend time with when you’re in a long distance relationship, and some you can’t. It’s up to you to navigate who you can and can’t trust and plan accordingly. Sometimes people will, unfortunately, take advantage of your loneliness, thinking that they can ‘persuade’ or convince you to think differently about your long distance partner.
If you’re really with someone you’re invested in, it’s best not to hang out with people who appear to be disloyal, conniving, or disloyal in their intentions.
9. If you fight, don’t fight over text.
You’re bound to fight with your partner at some point. But whether it’s serious or silly, try not to fight over text. Things can get misconstrued, misunderstood, or read into in ways that can make something blow up more than necessary. If you can, take time to breathe before fighting. Then call or FaceTime so that you can see one another face-to-face and try to resolve amicably.
10. Create your own ‘rules’ for contact.
Some people like ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’ texts. Others might prefer a few texts here and there and a call at night. Some people may have busy jobs and can’t talk during the workday at all. You have to figure out what you want vs. what your partner wants and create a compromise. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to stay in touch, but it has to be agreed upon (to avoid conflict) and reasonable (based on what both partners prefer and enjoy).
11. Invest in one another’s lives.
When you’re in a long distance relationship, your partner will inevitably meet friends, coworkers, and other people who will become important. Even if you might feel jealous at times, invest. Ask questions about the people. Listen to the stories. Remember details so that you can easily engage in conversations about them, and hopefully, one day when you visit, with them.
Being apart can put a strain on your connection, but if you’re investing in one another’s important people, moments, and ideas, then it will keep your bond seamless, even miles apart.
Also, do the little things. Share the little things. Take time to plan special moments or surprises. Even if it feels small, those small things can go a long way. Above all, know that a long distance relationship, although challenging is one of the best relationships because it shows true connection and commitment. If you can get through distance, you can get through anything.
Featured Image Credit: Katy Veldhorst